Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun. The celestial bodies can bring tsunamis, shock waves and flattening winds that could be catastrophic. It is said that one day, all life on Earth will extinct and an asteroid could be the possible reason. Shocked to hear that? A car-sized asteroid slams into the Earth's atmosphere about once in a year. On the other hand, an asteroid large enough to threaten the existence of life on Earth arrives once in every few million years. You all must be aware that an asteroid impact 12,800 years ago sparked an extinction of large animals across the globe. Well, a scientist has claimed that the same kind of asteroid impact is likely to happen again.
According to a report of express.co.uk, the monstrous asteroid is believed to have hit the northern Greenland during a period of Earth’s history known as the Younger Dryas. The collision triggered a global cooling of the climate that was felt in North America, South America and Europe. Well, the researchers in Africa believe the cataclysm contributed to a mass extinction of species at the end of the last ice age – the Pleistocene Epoch. However, the take away from this shocking discovery is another such impact could happen in the future.
It is to be noted that the discovery was published in the journal Palaeontologia Africana. Professor Francis Thackeray, an anthropologist from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, believes that the discovery supports the Younger Dryas extinction theory. “Our finding at least partially supports the highly controversial Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis,” express.co.uk quoted Francis Thackeray as saying.
He further said, “We seriously need to explore the view that an asteroid impact somewhere on Earth may have caused climate change on a global scale, and contributed to some extent to the process of extinctions of large animals at the end of the Pleistocene, after the last ice age.”
It is worth mentioning here that Professor Francis Thackeray led a team of researchers at a dig Limpopo Province, north of Pretoria in South Africa. During the research, the team of scientist spotted a “platinum spike” in geological samples dating back 12,800 years. The samples were linked to a large meteor.
Researchers also believe the asteroid may have indirectly impacted human settlements across the plains of Africa.Thackeray said, “Without necessarily arguing for a single causal factor on a global scale, we cautiously hint at the possibility that these technological changes, in North America and on the African subcontinent at about the same time, might have been associated indirectly with an asteroid impact with major global consequences.”
“We cannot be certain, but a cosmic impact could have affected humans as a result of local changes in environment and the availability of food resources, associated with sudden climate change,” he added.
Thackeray further said that the most likely point of impact is a 19-mile-wide crater in Greenland, beneath the Hiawatha Glacier. He said, “There is some evidence to support the view that it might possibly have been the very place where a large meteorite struck the planet Earth 12,800 years ago.”
The anthropologist also said, “If this was indeed the case, there must have been global consequences.” “Our evidence is entirely consistent with the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis,” he added.
Talking about “Potentially Hazardous Asteroid” Apophis 99942, the Professor said, “The closest encounter will take place precisely on Friday, April 13, 2029.
One of these rocky bodies is the “Potentially Hazardous Asteroid” Apophis 99942. “The probability of the Apophis 99942 asteroid hitting us then is only one in 100,000, but the probability of an impact may be even higher at some time in the future, as it comes close to Earth every 10 years.”
Asteroid Apophis measures about 1,115ft.